Tips for juggling work and study
University can be a demanding and stressful time in our lives, and it can be even more stressful for students who have to juggle work and study. Research by Griffith University’s Dr Paula Brough is investigating just how students balance their work and study commitments. The research is designed to broaden the knowledge of how students develop and apply boundary management skills during the critical career establishment period of tertiary education. The experience of juggling study and paid work can shape students and create patterns that continue into work-life domains. Findings from the study hopefully will help students manage these competing roles and lead to more productive and better-adjusted graduate workers. For many students, working night shifts is a necessity to pay for food and essentials, like accommodation and can add to the stress and pressure for many students. Dr Brough and her research team are looking for students who are working at least part-time while studying to complete her survey. More information about the Juggling Priorities of Work and Study project and complete the survey.
As we head into a new trimester, it is important to start on the right foot and get organised, so we caught up with Dr Brough to get some tips on managing stress levels while studying and working.
Prioritise and organise
It is important for students to be organised and prioritise work and uni demands. While we are at the beginning of the trimester make sure you get ahead and organise your time well and know when assignments and tests are due – this will be vital for success at university. Read our previous blog on ways to get ahead at the beginning of the trimester. Whether you prefer having a big calendar in your room, using your phone or writing it in a book, plan your time and make sure you have enough time to study, work, rest and socialise. I, personally, find it easy to schedule time throughout the week specifically for study and assignments and know I have a set time to work on them. Also, starting assignments the minute you get them will save you a lot of stress down the track. Do a little bit at a time such as the research- doing a little bit at a time is better than doing it all in one go. Utilise free apps such as https://www.mystudylife.com/ to help you organise your study load.
If you’re looking for ways to be more productive then read our top tips for productivity.
Create a routine for yourself around university and work and during the trimester make sure you have more control over the hours you work. It is recommended that students shouldn’t work more than 20 hours a week as it can affect your grades. If it is possible, make sure to reduce the amount you work when assignments are due and during the exam period. Once you know when your assignments are due, be sure to tell your employer straight away so that you can organise time off or reduced hours.
Take care of yourself
It is easy to underestimate how tired you really are. When we are exhausted we can’t function, so make sure you are getting enough rest throughout the week. For many people working nights and long hours, can affect your sleep, mental and physical wellbeing. Make sure you balance your life outside of work and study with exercise and a healthy diet. It is crucial to take time for yourself to unwind and reset, whether that be watching your favourite TV show, taking a long walk or hitting the gym. Be sure to schedule time for these activities.
Studies have shown that when we are tired or working late night shifts our body craves junk food more than usual, which can impact your health. Ensure you pack healthier alternatives accordingly and make sure you pack enough to eat after your
shifts. Many food options available late at night aren’t the healthiest choices so be sure to pack in an extra piece of fruit, yoghurt or something easy to snack on straight after your shift. Make sure you are drinking enough water as sometimes hunger can be confused with thirst.
Create a support network
Having a support network of friends and family around you will really help when it comes to balancing university and paid work. Introduce yourself to new people during the first few weeks of class and create a small study group. It will make it a lot easier to have people to bounce ideas off and when studying for exams. Griffith also has an abundance of resources on assignment writing. Check out:
- The library’s resources on everything you need to know about writing your assignment.
- The Student Guild’s free editing and academic support.
- Griffith offers support for well-being and counselling and workshops on stress management and self-care.
By Zehra Rabbani